New Year’s Resolution 5778: Stop and Taste the Honey!

The English word “holiday” does not convey the full idea behind Jewish celebrations and commemorations. And the British term “holiday” as vacation does not help give it any gravitas. The two biblical terms are moed, a declared time, or chag, a cyclical time. They are both related to the idea of declaring a moment in time special or unique, and perhaps revisiting that moment on a rotating basis to appreciate the impact of what is being remembered.  Indeed, the Jewish idea of holiness, from which holiday/holy day may derive, is linked to the notion of making something unique, special, and thereby sacred.

The cyclical holidays, such as Passover, Sukkot and Shavuot, have two themes each- one celebrates parts of the exodus story, and the other the season’s harvest.  Both should make a person pause, remember, and celebrate with thankfulness and appreciation. Shabbat has two themes- the rest ethic after a creation process and the “rest as justice” idea as a part of leaving Egyptian slavery.

So, what could we make of the themes of the declared times of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? Their somber notes about repentance, change for the better, and introspection are important. But, coming as they do at the “head” of the lunar calendar year, they act as a keynote of sorts to the rest of the holiday cycle. As the seasons change, as the leaves turn colors and fall, as students go back to school and workers begin a new budget year, more than we declare these days to be special, these days declare and call out to us to take note. They plead with us to stop, take time, recognize changes both obvious and subtle, and take a deep breath and carry on. And as life becomes inevitably more complex and challenging, we need to stop and taste the honey; remember our blessings, the sweetness in our lives from family, friends and accomplishments.

Here are some ideas for maximizing your holiday time, and “stopping to smell the roses/taste the honey” curtesy of Nisha Moodley. Try them and they may become New Year’s resolutions!

  1. Hold the door for someone. Yes, the person holding the door can take pleasure in this, too. Be patient so they can take their time.
  2. Watch bugs in the grass; It helps if you lie down.
  3. Put lotion on slowly; Feel your hand against your skin; feel your skin against your hand. This is your very own body.
  4. Thank the cashier; Imagine interacting with hundreds of people each day and having next-to-none of them give you the time of day. Be the one who does.
  5. Check out the moon; she governs the Jewish calendar and the cycle of life.
  6. Feel the fabric on your skin. While you walk, notice how your clothing feels against your body, and notice how every brush ‘wakes up’ your skin.
  7. Skip- Even if people watch. Who cares?!
  8. Buy a magazine that you normally wouldn’t. What’s a subject matter that you’ve never explored? Cross-stitch? Motorcycle racing? Interior design? Check out something you know nothing about.
  9. Buy flowers for someone else. Receiving flowers is heartwarming. Giving flowers is a thrill.
  10. Feel the air on your cheeks. It’s quite amazing that your cheeks are absorbing water and oxygen from the air. Feels good, right?
  11. Write a little love note to your Grandma. In as little as 3 sentences, thank her for all of the love, patience and perseverance it took to create your family.
  12. Do a clutter tashlikh- Throw something out (or give it away). Right now, just go grab something that is taking up unnecessary space and get rid of it.
  13. Sign up for a class. What have you been wanting to learn? Take a minute now to sign up for a class.

Here is a baker’s dozen “conversation starters’ you can use to break the ice at family gatherings while avoiding politics or those awkward moments of silence or TMI.

  1. What is the funniest thing you remember about a past fall holiday season?
  2. What unusual traditions did you have around Rosh Hashana?
  3. Name one ancestor that you think about on Yom Kippur and tell us why.
  4. What is one wish you have for the next generation as they begin to establish their own holiday traditions?
  5. If your great-great grandchildren could listen to this years from now, is there any wisdom you’d want to pass on to them? What would you want them to know?
  6. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
  7. How do you want to be remembered?
  8. If you could add two commandments to the existing ten, what would they be?
  9. If you could break one of the commandments, which would it be and why?
  10. Share: Favorite Mother Moment; Favorite Father Moment; Favorite Sibling Moment.
  11. If your house was on fire and you could grab only 3 things before leaving, what would they be?
  12. Name one thing that not many people know about you.
  13. List 1 thing you wish you could change about yourself.

And remember that the most important app to download this season is Appreciation

Look here for High Holiday related Events!
 

Holiday events

Upcoming Events
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Sat
Jun
  23
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
 
Congregation Adat Reyim
6500 Westbury Oaks Court, Springfield VA 22152
Join us for a family friendly shabbat where we encourage preschoolers and young children to celebrate the shabbat with us. Friendly songs, enjoyable music, and a welcoming atmosphere at Congregational Adat Reyim.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Parenting
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Jun
  23
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
 
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCC of Northern Virginia-Community Engagement Department)
22810 James Monroe Highway, Aldie VA 20105
Pack a picnic dinner (of buy one on site) and welcome the new week with your Growing Jewish Families community! Explore the sights, sounds and smells of Havdalah -- the Jewish ceremony that marks the end of Shabbat and the beginning of a new week. Enjoy a family picnic while we celebrate together: sharing stories, exploring the traditional Havdalah set (candles and spices) and more! All are welcome--so bring your friends, family and neighbors for a beautiful evening at the winery! Make memorie...
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Social Events
Event Cost:  

 
 
Fri
Jun
  29
7:00 PM - 7:45 PM
 
Temple B'nai Shalom
7612 Old Ox Road, Fairfax Station VA 22039
Please join us for Tot Shabbat. Tot Shabbat is especially for newborns through second graders, and their parents. The service includes lots of music, child-friendly prayers, and stories and activities. It lasts about a half hour and is followed by a special kid-friendly oneg. We will look forward to seeing you at this wonderful service!
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Jun
  30
10:30 AM - 11:15 AM
 
Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
7727 Persimmon Tree Lane, Bethesda MD 20817
Summer is here! Join the fun for our wonderful Tot Shabbat led by Ellie Schuchman. Come pray, sing, make friends, and enjoy the community.
Listed In:  Families, Maryland, Reconstructionist, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Fri
Jul
  6
6:15 PM - 8:00 PM
 
Congregation Etz Hayim (Congregation Etz Hayim (Conservative))
2920 Arlington Blvd., Arlington VA 22204
Join us for a delicious and vibrant potluck dinner on the first Friday of every month following the Kabbalat Shabbat service. This is one of our most popular events, especially with families with young children. (Services start at 6:15pm. Dinner starts at approximately 7:30pm). Potluck Guidelines: Food should be vegetarian (dairy or pareve ), made using hekshered ingredients, and brought in a disposable pan/container. Food cannot be heated in our kitchen. Not a home cook? Pick up something hek...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Seniors, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Social Events
Event Cost:  

 
 
Thu
Jul
  12
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
 
Temple Rodef Shalom
2100 Westmoreland Street, Falls Church VA 22043
This event is intended for participants to attend the entire scheduled time/series.
We have a unique opportunity to explore the High Holy days from many different angles – just as Abigail Pogrebin did in her book My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. She took the time to examine each holiday over the course of a year. . .interviewing people, tasting different foods, pushing her own boundaries with new experiences. . .Rodef Reads, our congregational read and year-l...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Interfaith, Seniors, Northern Virginia, Reform, Adult Education, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Jul
  14
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
 
Congregation Etz Hayim (Congregation Etz Hayim (Conservative))
2920 Arlington Blvd., Arlington VA 22204
9:30 Club: Meditation on 2nd Saturday of each month. Drop-in and stay for services at 10am. Kiddush follows services.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Seniors, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Fitness & Wellness, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Jul
  14
10:30 AM - 11:15 AM
 
Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
7727 Persimmon Tree Lane, Bethesda MD 20817
Summer is here! Join the fun for our wonderful Tot Shabbat led by Ellie Schuchman. Come pray, sing, make friends, and enjoy the community.
Listed In:  Families, Maryland, Reconstructionist, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sun
Jul
  15
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
 
Congregation Etz Hayim (Congregation Etz Hayim (Conservative))
2920 Arlington Blvd., Arlington VA 22204
Dairy/vegetarian potluck picnic, a concert with "Here Comes Trouble", and ice cream! Tu B’Av – the Jewish Day of Love - has been celebrated for thousands of years! In Israel, it is celebrated in many of the same ways that we celebrate Valentine’s Day in the US. Metro DC based kiddie rock heroes "Here Comes Trouble" is a band that is all about being silly, having fun, and finding the adventure in everything. Cosponsored by Congregation Etz Hayim and PJ Library No prior knowledge of Tu B’Av re...
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Arts & Culture, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  Free; Free but RSVP required

 
 
Thu
Jul
  19
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
 
Temple Rodef Shalom
2100 Westmoreland Street, Falls Church VA 22043
This event is intended for participants to attend the entire scheduled time/series.
We have a unique opportunity to explore the High Holy days from many different angles – just as Abigail Pogrebin did in her book My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. She took the time to examine each holiday over the course of a year. . .interviewing people, tasting different foods, pushing her own boundaries with new experiences. . .Rodef Reads, our congregational read and year-l...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Interfaith, Seniors, Northern Virginia, Reform, Adult Education, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Fri
Jul
  20
5:30 PM - 6:00 PM
 
Agudas Achim Congregation
2908 Valley Drive, Alexandria VA 22302
Friday night service for kids 0-5 and parents with songs, instruments, scarves, dancing parachutes, challah and juice.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Jul
  21
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
 
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCC of Northern Virginia-Community Engagement Department)
2100 Westmoreland Street, Falls Church VA 22043
Join Growing Jewish Families for the next stop on our Tot Shabbat Train: Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church! Share Shabbat with families from the JCCNV's Growing Jewish Families program and visit different synagogue Tot Shabbats all around Northern Virginia. Services this month begin at 9 am and will be held at Bunny's Place outdoors (weather permitting). Highlights include: singing, stories, tot-sized prayers, and a snack. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming; there is no dress code; and the...
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Social Events
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Jul
  21
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM
 
Temple Rodef Shalom
2100 Westmoreland Street, Falls Church VA 22043
Throw on your flip flops and come over for a little singin’, a little clappin’, a little prayin’. . .and a whole lot of fun! We’re shaking it up by hosting Tot Shabbat on a Saturday morning in Bunny’s Place, our outdoor worship space, weather permitting. Following our casual morning service, we’ll enjoy a snack together and some arts and crafts. The service is just right for our youngest and squirmiest. No need to be a Temple Rodef Shalom member to attend! All families welcome! Contact: Cookie...
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Jul
  21
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
 
Congregation Etz Hayim (Congregation Etz Hayim (Conservative))
2920 Arlington Blvd., Arlington VA 22204
Drop-in for Parashat HaShavuah (Torah portion discussion) on the 3rd Saturday of each month at 9:30am. Sponsored by the Samuel & Jean Koshar Rothstein Memorial Fund. Stay for Shabbat services at 10am. Kiddush follows services.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Seniors, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Adult Education, History/Education, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Thu
Jul
  26
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
 
Temple Rodef Shalom
2100 Westmoreland Street, Falls Church VA 22043
This event is intended for participants to attend the entire scheduled time/series.
We have a unique opportunity to explore the High Holy days from many different angles – just as Abigail Pogrebin did in her book My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. She took the time to examine each holiday over the course of a year. . .interviewing people, tasting different foods, pushing her own boundaries with new experiences. . .Rodef Reads, our congregational read and year-l...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Interfaith, Seniors, Northern Virginia, Reform, Adult Education, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 


The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington proudly presents to you High Holidays: New Ideas for a New Year. No doubt there will be something in this book that will enhance your new year and bring your family joy. Whatever you choose to do, Make it Yours in 5777.